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Shaniya Davis: A Child Like Mine

This past weekend I went to see the movie, Precious, with my mother who was visiting from Chicago. As soon as I got home I hugged my daughter for nearly five minutes and almost trembled holding back the tears as scenes from the movie flashed in my head. I would've done the same with my son, but now that he's a teenager he doesn't allow me into his "bubble" unless I tackle him.

In Precious' face I saw my own child. What made the movie so difficult for me is that I know from my own work with teens at risk that this fiction tale is not fiction at all for thousands of nameless, faceless, abused, tortured children with no one to love or defend them from the monsters in their lives.

Shaniya Davis, unfortunately, is the real name of one of these real children.

Shaniya Davis was found dead Monday, nearly a week after mother Antoinette Davis reported her missing. Police say Davis is charged with human trafficking and felony child abuse, allegedly for selling Shaniya into sex slavery.

Police also charged Mario McNeill with kidnapping after he was captured on a hotel's surveillance video carrying Shaniya. McNeill's lawyer has said his client will plead not guilty.

Police say an autopsy is being conducted to determine how Shaniya died.

The father of a 5-year-old girl whose body was found off a rural North Carolina road regrets giving the girl's mother a chance to raise their daughter, even though she seemed to be getting her life together.

The girl's father, Bradley Lockhart, said he had a one-night stand with Antoinette Davis and mostly brought up their daughter before letting Davis take care of her. A month later, Shaniya Davis was dead, her body dumped off a rural road and her mother accused of selling her for sex.

Reporting as per the Associated Press.

I spent a good portion of yesterday afternoon distraught over this. Particularly because this little girl is almost a duplicate version of my own save the difference of a little more than a year in ages. Beyond the stark similarities, in this child's eyes I see all children. The mother is alleged to have done this for drugs. DRUGS! And she somehow thought that she was going to get her child back after pimping her out.

Shaniya Davis was FIVE YEARS OLD! I cannot imagine the fear that ripped through this child after living a happy and safe life, only to have it turned upside down over the course of a month...by her mother.

I don't wish ill will on many people, but I hope Hell has a very hot suite for all parties involved in this abomination. I actually hope they are released into the general population of whatever prisons they are ultimately sentenced to serve time in. I hope a corrections officer looks the other way for free on this one.

May God be with Shaniya Davis and may she rest in peace after her five short years on this Earth. My heart and prayers are with her father as well who is waking up everyday into a nightmare from which he cannot escape.

That kid you see acting a fool when you're out with your family might be a child who is suffering at home. It's too easy to dismiss the problems of others as "that's someone else's problem." That question we often ask, "Well, where are the parents?" might be the same thing that kid is wondering. Where we can we need to help our children. Because as adults we have the power to cast a wide net, via the Internet, via the workplace, via church, via school, via government. We need to love, equip and empower them with all that we have as best we can so that they have the knowledge and tools to grow up to be adults who, God willing, won't travel the path that this poor girl's mother is alleged to have traveled.

I don't think I can or should say any more.

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